The invention is a method for generating an image of a parametric surface, such as the compass direction toward which each surface element of terrain faces, commonly called the slope-aspect azimuth of the surface element. The method maximizes color contrast to permit easy discrimination of the magnitude, ranges, intervals or classes of a surface parameter while making it easy for the user to visualize the form of the surface, such as a landscape. The four pole colors of the opponent process color theory are utilized to represent intervals or classes at 90 degree angles. The color perceived as having maximum measured luminance is selected to portray the color having an azimuth of an assumed light source and the color showing minimum measured luminance portrays the diametrically opposite azimuth. The 90 degree intermediate azimuths are portrayed by unique colors of intermediate measured luminance, such as red and green. Colors between these four pole colors are used which are perceived as mixtures or combinations of their bounding colors and are arranged progressively between their bounding colors to have perceived proportional mixtures of the bounding colors which are proportional to the interval's angular distance from its bounding colors.